Within Reason – Part 6: A Reason To Believe

If there’s any time to be developing electronic music instruments, now is it.

The music products industry is looking at an incredible rise in the use and influence of electronic music. Years ago teenagers wanted to learn songs like Stairway To Heaven on the guitar. Some still do – the guitar is a strong, universal music icon. But now the rise of studio tools and synths in popular music have paved the way for a synth renaissance.

Today’s young musicians grew up with electronics in their music. They know what Pro Tools is. Their idols don’t just consist of guitar Gods or grunge rockers anymore. Groups like Daft punk have made what was once nerdy into something incredibly cool. They’re making sounds that beginning musicians want to emulate. Ask an up and comer what a vocoder is and they might know – not because they researched it, but because they heard an Imogen Heap song.

So what a great time to be at the forefront of this trend. It’s not an electronic musician renaissance; it’s an electronic music renaissance that we’re experiencing. Any music instrument manufacturer that wants to be an industry and cultural leader better concentrate on the sound and usability of their instruments, whether hardware or software.

And this is why I get confused when thinking about how Reason is positioned in the electronic music market.

Will You Pick Something And Just Be The Best At It Already?

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Reason I don’t think of a sequencer. I don’t think of a mixer. I don’t think of a virtual instrument rack with cables that shake when you hit the tab key. I think of the sounds.

Sure, maybe that’s because I use Reason with another DAW. And although Reason 4 will take steps to improve the sequencer, I doubt I’d use it, instead favoring on the sequencer I know and love.

In my opinion, the only thing Reason has going for it is its instruments and effects. Some would call those sounds cheap; I think of them as unique. So why not make it easier to use them with any sequencer? Why not make them VSTis and Audio Units?

Even from a business point of view this seems like a move in the right direction, not just whiny users begging for a change. Propellerheads have these wonderful sound libraries they’ve released. I’d definitely buy one (or two) of them if I could use them directly in my favorite DAW. The Props work hard creating these sample packs and their only market is current Reason users.

Doesn’t that seem odd? Seems like a much smaller market than what they could have. It makes about as much sense as a vocoder that you can’t run vocals through.

A mocked up BV512 in Logic Pro

Reason hasn’t added audio input because the developers didn’t want to create a watered-down Cubase. But that’s what Reason is in its current state anyway, just without audio. Why spend so much time and money developing a watered down, weak sequencer when all we really want are the sounds? Why not make Reason a plug-in suite?

And to answer the immediate question, no, you won’t lose any of Reason’s modular routing. My favorite DAW lets me route audio to Busses, Auxiliary channels, and other synths and effects. Doesn’t yours?

And if you weren’t ready to give up the sequencer just yet, Reason could come in 2 flavors:

  • The Reason we have now
  • The Reason Plug-Suite

Choose what you want to use. Users that like to work in Reason can continue to do so. The rest of us can bring all these Reason units, and ReFills, into the DAW of our choice without having to get strung up in virtual patch cables like ReWire.

Doesn’t that seem logical?